Vicki Penwell, CPM, is an international humanitarian aid worker, licensed midwife and midwife educator who has practiced since 1981, first in Alaska and then in Asia since 1990. Vicki and her extended family of four generations live and run a birth center in the Philippines, where they founded a nonprofit charitable organization called Mercy In Action, which trains midwives and establishes birth centers in poor countries. The Mercy In Action birth center in Olongapo, Philippines, is run by national midwives and funded by donations so that every delivery is free of charge to the woman and her family. Outcomes of more than 13,500 births have been excellent, using the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI) model of maternity care.
In my first and second articles in this series, I mentioned that in Thailand, they have an expression that translates in English to “same same but different.” As is true with pregnancy and labor and delivery, so it is true of caring for the newborn, as well. There are unique aspects to newborn care in a low-resource setting and, while many elements of caring for a newborn baby in the six weeks following birth are universal, the midwife needs to be aware of how best practices can be different according to the setting. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has created global standards, competencies, and guidelines to ensure that midwives in all countries have effective education and skills (ICM 2018). When working in developing countries where newborn mortality is high in the neonatal period, the midwife should possess advanced skills and be humble about the high-risk population in which she may find herself. Business as usual will not be adequate or even ethical in these situations.
Read more…. Newborn Care in the Context of a Developing Country
Photo by Rachel Joy Barehl
The author shares her experience after thousands of birth that labor is a continuum rather than being divided into stages. If left undisturbed, women will not even experience a “second stage.”
Read more…. The Disappearing Second Stage
Vicki Penwell shares the essentials of a training by Mercy in Action on how to deal with the unexpected during a birth. Read more…. Expect the Unexpected
The author with midwife Imelda Catama and one of the 14,700 families who have
delivered in one of Mercy In Action’s birth centers in the Philippines since 1991
Labor in a developing country can be very different than in a developed country. In this second in her series of article, Vicki Penwell shares the challenges faced by laboring women in the Philippines and other countries.
Read more…. Labor and Delivery Care in the Context of a Developing Country
Rachel Joy Barehl
In Thailand, there is an expression when comparing two things that are similar yet not exact; in English it translates to “same same but different.” So it is with the provision of prenatal care in the context of a developing country. There are unique aspects to maternity care in a low-resource setting and, while some prenatal care elements are universal, the midwife needs to be aware of how best practices can be different according to the setting.
Read more…. Prenatal Care in the Context of a Developing Country
International midwife Vicki Penwell discusses the culture of homebirth in America to see what might be done to improve the life-long health of the baby.
Read more…. Microbiome and Midwives: A Look at Culture
How a Checklist Promotes Human Rights in Childbirth: the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative by Vicki Penwell. Midwife Vicki Penwell shares a simple and practical tool to get better outcomes in childbirth. Read more…. How a Checklist Promotes Human Rights in Childbirth: The International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative
International midwife Vicki Penwell teaches a structured approach for reflecting on the work of a group and identifying strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement.
Read more…. After Action Review: A Guide for Midwifery Students and Preceptors
Vicki (far right) with a couple and their new baby ready to discharge from the birthing tent to go back to their own temporary homeless shelter. Volunteers: Tara Greeley, Michelle Pixianho, Jen Bunquin, Christy Martin, April Flores, and Vicki Penwell
Midwife Vicki Penwell shares the experience she and other helpers from Mercy In Action had in their successful attempts to provide midwifery care to those affected by Hurricane Yolanda. Read more…. After the Disaster: What Comes Next in the Philippines?
Even amidst disaster, life still happens and babies are still born. Veteran midwife Vicki Penwell teaches on how to handle premature births in disaster zones.
Read more…. Prematurity and Kangaroo Care during a Disaster
Midwife Vicki Penwell describes her experience of providing aide with Mercy In Action in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Read more…. Mercy In Action Midwives Form Disaster Response to Deadly Super Typhoon
Vicki providing hands-on training to a midwifery student (Photo by Rachel Joy Baransi)
Overseas midwife Vicki Penwell shares her scholarship program and challenges other organizations and midwifery schools to join her in her efforts. Read more…. A Scholarship Solution and Grand Challenge from Mercy In Action